RELEASE: Gottheimer Hosts Grant “Claw Back” Summit for Jersey with Federal Agencies, Helping Municipalities & Local Leaders Claw Back Federal Investment to Help Lower Taxes

Helping municipalities, first responders, and local organizations claw back more federal tax dollars to our communities — Boosting New Jersey’s Return on Investment

Feb 13, 2023
Press

NEW JERSEY

Above: Gottheimer hosting the Grant “Claw Back” Summit today at Bergen Community College.

U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) hosted a Grant “Claw Back” Summit for municipalities, local officials, first responders, local organizations, and residents looking to claw more federal investment back to their communities.

Gottheimer hosted representatives from the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program, the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) Grant program, the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant program, the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) 1033 Program, the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NPSG), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and their Rural Development program.

Watch the Grant “Claw Back” Summit and each presentation here.

Find Gottheimer’s Federal Grant Claw Back resources and support here.

By clawing more federal investment back to North Jersey helps to lower local property taxes, make local communities safer, and make life more affordable. Since 2017, the Fifth District is now up more than 357% in grants, resources, and federal dollars clawed back from Washington. For 2021 alone, the federal tax dollars clawed back amount to an average savings of more than $750 for each household in the Fifth District. 

“I’ve made it a priority to claw more of the federal tax dollars we send to Washington back to New Jersey’s Fifth District, instead of it going to the Moocher States. I want our elected officials, local leaders, first responders, local organizations, and residents to be able to learn how to claw more federal tax dollars back to their communities,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Working together, since 2017, the Fifth District is now up more than 357% in grants, resources, and federal dollars we’ve clawed back from Washington. This federal investment helps to lower our local property taxes, make our communities safer, and make life more affordable. We all need to work together to ensure we’re getting the strongest return on investment. My office – and my Director of Return on Investment, Shay, who is here – works with these folks every day, scouring grant opportunities for our communities, working with towns to analyze their budgets, and to help claw back as much as possible here and away from the Moocher States.”

Below: Gottheimer hosting the Grant “Claw Back” Summit today at Bergen Community College.

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Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below.

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to our first ever Grant “Claw Back” Summit.

I want to thank Bergen Community College and President Friedman for hosting us here. Thank you for everything you and the college do to educate people from all walks and stages of life to prepare them to succeed. Since we’re here to talk about clawing back federal grants, I should mention that since 2017, BCC has clawed back more than $23 million in federal dollars, not to mention the more than $61 million dollars in federal COVID relief grants.

I also want to thank all of the local officials, first responders, local organizations, and residents for joining us — both in person and virtually — to learn how to claw more federal investments back to our Jersey communities.

This isn’t the first time we’re getting together as a community to talk about clawing our federal tax dollars back to Jersey from Washington. That’s been a major focus since I was elected. But this is the first time we’re streaming it, so everyone can participate. My dad always said to me as a kid, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. And for too long, North Jersey, in my congressional District, didn’t ask and didn’t fight for federal grants, whether that was for a fire truck, an ambulance, police radios, or bollards to protect a church or synagogue. My predecessor didn’t believe in this approach, so we were leaving gobs of federal grants, equipment, and other dollars on the table every year for the simple reason that we weren’t applying. And someone was taking them. It’s not like those dollars disappeared.

As a result, far too many of our federal dollars went to lining the pockets of other states, for their law enforcement, their nonprofits, their firefighters – especially to states that get far more dollars back than they send to the federal government. This helped them offset town budgets, county and state budgets, and to — in turn — lower their state and local taxes. In fact, for every dollar Mississippi and West Virginia sent to Washington, they have historically gotten $4.38 and $4.23 back. In Jersey, we were getting about 67 cents for every dollar we sent. The Moocher States got lots of relief on their state, local, and property taxes — and we paid retail.

After I took office, I decided it was time we stood up to the Moochers States and started working together — mayors, councils, first responders, nonprofits — to apply for more grants and get them back here, where they belong, to protect our families and communities.

Also, I realized that the more of our federal tax dollars that we got back to Jersey, the less our towns had to charge in local taxes — and I’m all about lowering taxes and making life more affordable — which meant more jobs and more people staying in Jersey. Since the state, county, and localities set tax rates, one of the best things I could do to get taxes down was to fight so that more of the tax dollars we sent to Washington came back to Jersey for our families — not to the Moocher States. And we’ve done exactly that.

I am very proud that, since 2016, working together, we are now up 357 percent in our federal tax dollars that we’ve clawed back to North Jersey from Washington, helping to offset and lower our property taxes, to make life more affordable and safer, and to improve the Fifth District in so many ways. In fact, in 2021 alone, that amounted to more than $750 for every single Fifth District, North Jersey household — dollars going back into the pockets of our hardworking families when they need them most. Dollars taken off of our property tax lines. Lower Taxes. And we’ve done that by working together, applying for grants that make sense for us, and then fighting for them – with calls, letters of support, you name it. Again, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

So, the question for our new mayors and council members, town administrators, first responders, nonprofits, churches, synagogues, and mosques – what’s available and how do we get these dollars back? Well, today, we brought in the best experts to help. My office – and my Director of Return on Investment, Shay, who is here – works with these folks every day, scouring grant opportunities for our communities, working with towns to analyze their budgets, and to help claw back as much as possible here and away from the Moocher States.

We’re so incredibly lucky to be joined today by representatives from the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant, the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and their Rural Development grant program, the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) 1033 Program, the General Services Administration (GSA) Federal Surplus Property Program, and the Non Profit Security Grant Program (NPSG). These individuals will be sharing key information on how to apply for and win federal grants — something we’ve had great success doing right here in New Jersey’s Fifth District.

Before I turn it over to them, I’d like to highlight some real wins. Some of our best claw backs to New Jersey — and the people who helped make it happen.

First, the Demarest Fire Department clawed back a major federal investment of $210,000 through the Staffing For Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant — or the “SAFER” grant — to help boost membership and start a much-needed new stipend program to help pay local firefighters. This directly addressed the manpower shortage. 

Next, New Milford has clawed back Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) every single year since 2017 — an incredible feat. In AFG grants alone — working with our team — they’ve clawed back more than $1.3 million dollars. In fact, we’ve helped New Milford claw back more than $2.5 million dollars in total federal grants since 2017. To give you an example, one of these AFG grants was $750,000 for a new ladder truck. They also got air packs. That’s thousands of dollars that don’t fall on the local budget and taxpayer.

Teaneck has clawed back nearly $4 million dollars since 2017, including a $500,000 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant for school violence prevention — not to mention other resources for an ambulance and EMT equipment.

The Township of Bogota has used the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) 1033 Program to claw back investments for a Humvee that has been used to save lives during severe flooding. They’ve clawed back nearly $500,000 dollars from the LESO program and more than $1.8 million dollars from federal grants since 2017.

The Glenwood Pochuck Ambulance Corp in Vernon has clawed back a more than $180,000 truck and a $1,000 ATV from federal resources. I want to applaud them for literally writing the guide on how to get GSA grants — which they are happy to share with all of you.

And, we helped Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley claw back two Nonprofit Security Grants totaling $250,000 dollars. This investment helped provide security for the Temple to protect from a terrorist attack and other domestic threats.

Thank you to everyone joining here today or tuning in online — for your public service and for supporting your towns and residents. We must continue to work together to claw more of our federal tax dollars back to Jersey. These are just a few highlights. Others include trucks, computers, generators, radios, and money to pay for firefighter salaries in Hackensack.

We are here if you need anything. Mayors, councils, first responders, I’m sure you’ve seen our grant alerts. We are happy to work with you and your town administrators to help you apply and then fight to get the dollars back here to Jersey – and away from the Moocher States. You’ll meet Shay, if you haven’t, our Director of ROI, and I’m always available.

Before I turn it over, many of the representatives who played a key role in securing the grants I highlighted are here if there are any questions for them.

There is nothing partisan about this. This is just about working together to help families.

If we work together, here in the greatest country in the world, our best days will always be ahead of us.

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